Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Useful Tools for Talking to your Child About Autism

Below is an excerpt from a helpful guide on how to talk to your child about autism and empower them. 

This series on "empowerment" can be found in the book,
"Autism Discussion Page on Anxiety, Behavior, School and Parenting Strategies."
The guide is great for promoting self awareness in children, helping them understand what autism or Aspergers are, and how it affect them - both strengths and challenges. Learning about their differences allows them to better adapt and advocate for themselves. Once children on the spectrum begin to understand how they are different, their challenges start making sense to them. From there they can make accommodations to minimize the daily challenges they face, develop coping strategies to face stressors they cannot avoid, and learn to regulate their nervous system so they do not get overwhelmed. The guide does a great job emphasizing that the child should not feel the need to "fix" or change what his or her needs are, but rather to use strengths to better meet those needs. 

The videos below are a great resource to help in the discussion with your child, as well. 

Visit Autism of Society of NC   to gain knowledge and find help/resources in your area! 

It is important to have these conversations before a child starts setting up defenses that are hard to break down. Focus on all aspects of the child, including strengths and weaknesses, interests and personality traits, with autism being just a part of them. 

Explore these resources! If you need additional guidance and support, speak with your team of therapists to locate a professional who specializes in talking to families about autism. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tis the season for giving! During the holidays family and friends want to give a special present to the children in their life. The Occupational Therapists at Pediatric Possibilities have put together a list of our favorite games, toys, and materials to provide a helpful gift guide for those still in search. These are great options for kids to have fun while promoting developmental skills, too! 

Ten OT-Favorite Gifts for Kids

1. Peaceable Kingdom Stack UP!:  This award winning game of tower building can be appropriate for a variety of ages because it has 3 levels which increase in challenge.  Encouraging cooperation, fine motor and hand/eye coordination, as well as play, this game is an awesome gift for kids!

2. I Can Build It!: This construction kit allows kids to build a motorcycle, a race car and an airplane and then play with them! Great for working on bilateral coordination, fine motor coordination and strengthening, visual motor skills, sequencing, and motor planning. Children screw the pieces together with the two-way electric screwdriver, which makes it a snap to screw in the bolts and unscrew them again for constructional fun! 

3. Squigz: Encourages creativity, fine motor and visual motor skills, interaction, and playfulness! The silicone, rubbery feel adds tactile input, as well as a POP! when they are pulled apart for a sensory experience. They are great for the bathtub, walls, windows, tabletops, and desktops. 

4. Spot It! Party Game: Develops attention, visual perception skills, and fine motor skills. Between any two cards there is always one matching symbol. Spot it fast to win! There are five different ways to play, and can be enjoyed among a group of 2-8 players. 

5. Peaceable Kingdom Race to the Treasure: Another game from Peaceable Kingdom - these cooperative games are great to work on social skills and collaboration! We find ourselves using them frequently during therapy sessions. Players work together to beat the Ogre to the treasure by creating a path from start to finish - if they are successful, everyone wins! Also great to work on visual perception, fine motor, and visual motor skills. 

6. Lite Brite: Great for our kiddos working on fine motor precision, strength, as well as visual motor skills as they push pegs into matching shape on template. It produces bright images with blinking light effects and uses reusable Lite Brite templates. 

7. Yogarilla Exercises and Activity Cards: Used to increase strength, balance, and body awareness. Also good for core strengthening, postural stability training, and motor planning. Fun and interactive, incorporating partners into some of the activity cards. 

Yogarilla Exercises & Activities Cards - Yoga Card Deck, Body Awareness Cards, & Magnetic Game- Super Duper Educational Learning Toy for Kids

8. Balance Bike: Perfect for those younger kiddos learning to ride and balance on two wheels without training wheels or pedals. Good for growing kids with widest age range from 18 months to 5 years.

9. Aerial Hammock by HearthSong: Oversize single-level hammock converts to two levels and has room for several kids. Levels are fun to climb and slide between. Perfect for outside, connecting with others and enjoying some fresh air! 

Main image for Aerial Hammock

10. Add-It-Up! Archery Set: Children just use a flexible plastic bow to shoot safe, suction-cup arrows at the target—adding up the numbers as they play! Includes 4 arrows, plus a bow, quiver, target and stand. Working on eye-hand coordination, bilateral integration, and fine motor skills. 

We wish all of our families a very happy and safe holiday season! 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Welcome, Fall!  
The Pediatric Possibilities team, along with our families and kiddos, have been enjoying the change in season over the past few weeks. It's a wonderful time of year to get outside, take in the beautiful colors, and breathe in some fresh air! 

We have had fun working on some Fall and Halloween themed activities. Here are a few ideas to try out at home for some seasonal FUN! 

Make Ghost Dough
A great tactile and fine motor strengthening activity! You will need: 1 cup of table salt, 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of water, medium sized bowl, 2 googly eyes. Mix the table salt and flour together, then slowly add the water. Knead the dough together. Form into ghost sculpture and add the googly eyes to complete your ghost! You can also use with cookie cutters. 

Acorn or Candy Corn Paths
Depending on the age of child, create the complexity of your maze. Have the child work on using pincer grasp, placing the objects inside the path to reach the end of the maze. Great activity to work on fine motor precision and visual motor accuracy, using fun seasonal objects. 

Spider Web Lacing Plate 
Use a hole puncher to make holes in a paper plate. Pre-knot the string and have the child lace to make a spider web. This activity is great for kids to coordinate holding the plate with one hand while lacing with the other. You can number the holes to work on visual scanning, and use longer string to lace through more numbers. The Raleigh clinic even made a spider with puff balls, pipe cleaner, and googly eyes! Eeek!

Tissue Paper Pumpkin
This turned into a group project at the Matthews office. We drew an outline of a pumpkin and the children helped fill it in with orange crumpled tissue paper. We stuck our pumpkin on the front of the fridge to have the children work on a vertical surface for shoulder strengthening. This was also great for finger strength, dexterity, and visual scanning. 

Spider Hat
We found this idea on Pinterest, and it turned out to be the silliest thing! It was a great opportunity to practice basic cutting (straight lines and 2 circles). The best part was putting the hat on and running out to surprise Mommy - the 8 legs bounce all around! 

We hope you get a chance to try out one or more of these activities before October is over. Happy Fall, everyone! 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pack it light, wear it right! 

We hope your student has had a wonderful start to the school year! AOTA’s National School Backpack Awareness Day was September 20, 2017.  Here are a few ways to make sure he or she is being safe and ergonomic when transporting things for school! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Welcome readers to the new Pediatric Possibilities blog! This is a place to share meaningful content and a passion for helping children be successful in life. Meet back here for information on both clinics (Raleigh & Matthews), interesting articles, helpful tips/strategies for parents, and activity ideas for children.

Pediatric Possibilities has officially moved to our new Matthews location! Thank you to all families, friends, and staff who have supported us during this transitional time. We have enjoyed welcoming families into the new space this past week. The move comes at the same time as our 2 year anniversary here in the Matthews/Charlotte area. We are excited to continue the journey, serving our families and providing specialized, relationship-based therapy.